Why Prenatal Care Is Necessary

Published on 09/25/20

Help keep you and your baby healthy by scheduling prenatal care visits. These visits include medical check-ups and screenings that test for early complications in pregnancy. 

This also includes counseling about the various stages of your pregnancy and education on how to handle different aspects of you and your baby’s journey. 

Your healthcare provider can discuss issues such as physical activity, nutrition, what to expect during labor / delivery and what tests you may need depending on your health history. 

You can start prenatal care as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Sometimes, even before you get pregnant, or pre-pregnancy care / preconception planning. If you can. 

Sometimes, these things cannot or are not planned. That’s perfectly okay! If it’s not possible, beginning prenatal care as soon as you can will be just as beneficial. 

Staying healthy during your pregnancy is important. Having a healthcare provider to monitor your baby’s development and to do routine testing helps in preventing possible future issues. As well as ease any discomfort. 

Ask questions about your pregnancy!

 

You can get prenatal care from all kind of healthcare providers:

Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) –  a doctor that has education and training in delivering babies and taking care of pregnant women.

Family Physician – A general physician that can take care of an entire family, who is qualified to take of you before, during and after pregnancy. 

Maternal-Fetal Medicine –  a specialist who is an Obstetrician with specific training to take care of women who develop high-risk pregnancies. 

Certified Midwife (CNM) – a nurse with education in taking care of women of all ages as well as pregnant women.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – a nurse with specialized training to take care of your entire family including pregnant women.

There is no one-size fits all. This your pregnancy and your prenatal care is in the hands of the healthcare provider of your choice.

How Many Visits Are Necessary?

Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy will determine the frequency of your prenatal care visits. For ages 18-35 for a typical pregnancy is every 4 to 6 weeks for the first 32 weeks. Every 2 to 3 weeks for the 32 to 37th weeks after, every week from the 37th week until delivery. If you turn out to be a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may request check-ups more often. 

Your healthcare provider would want to look into your health history by asking about:

  • Your menstrual cycle
  • Exposure to possibly toxic substances
  • Medication use, OTC or prescription and supplements
  • Family History
  • Lifestyle, i.e. tobacco, alcohol and caffeine
  • Travel – domestic or international

Sharing, sometimes sensitive, information with your healthcare provider can give them the tools to take the best care of you and your baby. 

Your Healthcare Provider Will Do A Physical Exam

Your healthcare provider will check you and the physical condition you are in during your pregnancy. They will calculate your body mass by measuring your weight and height, and take your blood pressure. This determines the recommended weight gain you will need to continue with a healthy pregnancy. 

Other physical exams may include a breast exam, heart screenings, thyroid, pelvic exam, lungs and thyroid. You may also get a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer depending on your past history. 

Lab Tests For Prenatal Care

Your blood tests during your first prenatal visit may determine more lab tests that need to be examined. This is to check for your blood type. Depending on your inherited traits, your pregnancy may need specialized care. 

These tests also measure hemoglobin. An iron-rich protein found on the surface of red-blood cells. Low hemoglobin may be a sign of anemia which can affect the level of fatigue during your pregnancy. 

Checking for immunity. Checking for immunity to certain infections such as chickenpox and  exposure to other infections. Infections or diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and HIV. All part of your prenatal care routine to give the best medical care during your pregnancy and avoid any high risk situations. 

Body Changes During Pregnancy

It goes without saying, your body will change tremendously while simultaneously creating a life for 9 months. Hormonal changes, weight gain as the fetus gets bigger, a large uterus, as well are larger breasts and nipples. Increase or decrease throughout pregnancy and changes in texture and the amount of hair on the body. 

Unfortunately, un-comfortability comes with all the changes. Some which are unavoidable but also very common issues all women deal with.

  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Aches and Pains throughout the body
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen breasts
  • Morning sickness or just nausea
  • Insomnia

Your doctor will be able to recommend practices that can be implemented to help feel more comfortable through all these changes and feeling better throughout your pregnancy in general. 

Continuous and Consistent Prenatal Care

In late prenatal care check-ups: your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure, weight, and maybe request a urine test, check your baby’s heartbeat, and measure your belly to check growth and development.

As well as give you certain prenatal tests. For example, most women have ultrasounds ordered at 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is an excellent way for your healthcare provider to determine if your baby will be a boy or a girl. An ultrasound may also be used to check the amount of amniotic fluid in the womb. Additionally, at about 24 to 28 weeks you will get a glucose screening to check for gestational diabetes.

During these later exams, the baby’s movement may be monitored and you may be administered a Tdap vaccination at 27 to 36 weeks. As well as pelvic exams the closer you get to your due date.

There’s nothing more important than prenatal care to protect the health of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.

Complications During Pregnancy

There are warning signs that can be very dangerous during pregnancy. Call your nurse, midwife doctor, or go to the hospital if you notice:

  • Terrible headaches
  • A gush or steady trickle of watery fluid from the vagina
  • Spots before your eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Vomiting for 24 hours
  • Severe swelling of the face, hand, ankles, or feet
  • Belly pain
  • Rashes or sores
  • Early labor
  • Expected due date passes without delivery
  • Rashes or sores
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Belly pain that doesn’t decrease
  • No fetal movement

Pregnancy complications are not very common but can be avoided or treated with prenatal care during your pregnancy. 

Become one with your healthcare provider to manage your care. Keep all appointments, make sure to ask questions and educate yourself!

The team at Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine provide medical checkups, screening tests, and educational and emotional support as you journey through pregnancy. Their doctors are also experts in high-risk pregnancies and genetic testing. If you have any questions about prenatal care, call their office in the Midtown East area of New York City, or schedule an appointment online.

They welcome women of all ages, so if you have any questions or it’s time to schedule an exam with an OB/GYN, talk to our team by phone or book an appointment online to get started. Call one of our six convenient NYC locations or schedule a video consultation online today. Come visit your NYC Maternal and Fetal Medicine Specialists for the safest possible care for you.